Four Olympic gold medalists from Tokyo will take their shot at history this week in Copenhagen when they attempt to become the first athletes in canoe sprint history to be crowned an Olympic and world champion in the same calendar year.

Seven of the nine gold medalists from the Tokyo Paralympics will also be in action in Denmark.

Hungary’s Balint Kopasz in the men’s K1 1000, Cuba’s C2 1000 crew of Serguey Torres and Fernando Enriquez, and the Hungarian women’s K4 and German men’s K4 will all look to add a world title to the Olympic crown they won in Tokyo last month.

This week’s world championships will also be the first event for the new Olympic programme which will be in place for the Paris 2024 Olympics. The men’s and women’s K1 200 will not be part of Paris, while the men’s K2 and C2 1000 events will become 500 metre races.

The new races will see new partnerships formed on the water, often matching a team’s fastest sprinter with a 1000 metre specialist.

Among the athletes to watch this week will be local hopes Emma Jorgensen, winner of bronze medals in both the 200 and 500 in Tokyo, and Rene Poulsen, perhaps making his final appearance after a career spanning 16 years and including Olympic and world championship medals.

Travel restrictions have prevented many of the athletes from New Zealand and Australia travelling to Europe, however the 2021 Paracanoe World Championships boasts a line-up of Paralympic medalists and former world title holders.

Unlike the Olympics, paracanoe world championships are regularly held in the same year as the Paralympic Games.

Ukraine’s Serhii Yemelianov will be looking to keep a perfect race record in the men’s KL3 that stretches back to the eve of the Rio Paralympics, and Great Britain’s star trio of Emma Wiggs, Charlotte Henshaw and Laura Sugar will look to continue their country’s dominance of women’s paracanoe events.

The battle between Olympic champion Edina Mueller of Germany and Ukraine’s world champion Maryna Mazhula in the women’s KL 200 will once again be a highlight, while teenage sensation Peter Kiss will look to add a second world championship gold medal to the Paralympic gold he won in the men’s KL1 in Japan.

Brazil’s Fernando Rufino, whose colourful career as a former rodeo bull rider who has been struck by lightning and had an elevator fall on him, but emerged to win VL2 gold in Tokyo, will be aiming to win his first world title in Copenhagen.

The 2021 ICF canoe sprint and paracanoe world championships begin in Copenhagen on Thursday and run through until Sunday. The championships will also celebrate the centenary of the Danish Canoe Federation.

A full media guide for the world championships can be downloaded here.

Ukraine Serhii Yemelianov paracanoe Tokyo Paralympics 2021

Canoe Sprint
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